Systematic scoping review identifies heterogeneity in outcomes measured in adolescent depression clinical trials
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Description: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a significant health condition in adolescents. In the ongoing search for the most effective treatments, randomised clinical trials (RCTs) are indispensable. Consistent outcome selection and measurement across RCTs enables the comparison and synthesis of results, fostering the translation of research into practice. This review identified health outcomes and measurement instruments reported in adolescent MDD trials published since 2008. Three databases were searched, yielding 32 RCTs. 435 outcomes measured using 120 different instruments were identified and synthesized into 86 unique outcomes (“outcome terms”). Nearly half of outcome terms were reported in a single trial each. Of outcome terms classified as “primary”, nearly three-quarters were reported in a single trial. Change in depressive symptom severity was reported in almost all, though measured using 21 different instruments. Substantial heterogeneity exists in outcomes and instruments used in adolescent MDD RCTs. A standard set of agreed upon outcomes is warranted.